Houston is situated near the Gulf of Mexico, on the bayous and shorelines of Galveston Bay. Houston is the most populous city in Texas and one of the largest cities in the USA. Named after the general who led the territory to independence from Mexico in 1836, Houston began life as tiny outpost in America’s old west. Just one hundred and twenty-five years later, the city would become the center for exploring a new frontier ~ Space. In fact, the first official words transmitted from the Moon’s surface were, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Yet despite Houston’s size and star-bound aspirations, this metropolis remains refreshingly down to Earth. And for a city built on the big-business of energy, shipping and aerospace, it’s surprisingly cultural too. Beneath Houston’s downtown skyline, the parklands of Discovery Green are filled with striking public art. While nearby, the Museum District is home to 18 cultural, historic, and science museums, all within walking distance of one another. Here you’ll find one of the world’s great private art collections.
The Menil Collection showcases treasures from antiquity through to the works of modern masters like Picasso, Warhol and Rothko. Displayed simply within this Renzo Piano designed gallery, the collection prides itself on being accessible, friendly and free. Nearby, continue your journey through the artistic ages at the Museum of Fine Arts. While just a few blocks away at the Houston Zoo, come face to face with some of Planet Earth’s living treasures. Still within the Museum District is historic Hermann Park, home to the soaring Pioneer Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. If Hermann Park is the place Houstonians go to relax, Memorial Park is the place they go to get active, and back to nature. Set within the park is the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, over 150 acres of tranquil forest, meadow, and wetlands habitats. Flowing gently through the heart of Houston is Buffalo Bayou. At it’s mouth rises the San Jacinto Memorial, marking the site where in just 18 minutes, General Sam Houston’s army won the Lone Star State it’s independence.
Nearby, walk the decks of another reminder of past conflict, Battleship Texas. Commissioned in 1914 and serving through to two World Wars, this much-feared, former flagship of the US Navy now serves a much quieter roll ~ as a museum ship. Houston’s most popular ships of all, however, are its spacecraft. Don’t miss Space Center Houston, where you’ll experience humankind’s greatest adventure; from the moon landings, to the International Space Station, and beyond. One of the reasons NASA chose Houston as the center for it’s spaceflight activities, is the almost perfect year-round weather. But be prepared, it can get hot on the Gulf Coast. When the temperature rises, cool off at Houston’s beaches, water-parks, and old-school fun fairs. Catch the sea breeze at Kemah Boardwalk which serves up the simple pleasures of yesteryear. Or, hurl through time and space at the Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier.
Meet Houston’s coolest residents at Moody Gardens. This futuristic complex of pyramids houses an aquarium, rainforest, and discovery center, and is a total celebration of our living planet. When the sun starts to set, take a walk by the gulf. Then refuel on some fiery Tex Mex cuisine, before launching into another day in the brightest star in Texas ~ Houston..
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